Despite 40 years of dialogue, debate still continues over whether psychedelics are capable of
inducing genuine mystical experiences. This paper first reviews the arguments against this possibility
and shows that all of them contain shortcomings. One reason the debate still continues is
that there has been no adequate theory of mystical states and their relationship to the factors
which produce them. Consequently a theory of mystical states based on Charles Tart’s systems
model of consciousness is proposed. This theory suggests how identical states of consciousness can
be induced by very different means, including contemplative practices and chemical substances,
and yet have different after-effects. Taken together, these ideas lead to the cautious conclusion that
some psychedelics can induce genuine mystical experiences sometimes in some people, and that
the current tendency to label these chemicals as entheogens may be appropriate.
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Walsh, R. (2003). Walsh, R. (2003). Entheogens: True or false? International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22(1), 1–6.. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22 (1). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/ijts-transpersonalstudies/vol22/iss1/3